Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lackey blanks Mariners; Utley returns to menace Mets

American League Minnesota 3 Cleveland 8 - The Indians put a stamp on their season with a signature win over the Twins, improving their record against Central division teams to 32-20. Paul Byrd improved to 13-5 and Victor Martinez sparked the offense with a 2-run homer (20) in the 3rd inning. The Indians retained their 2 1/2 game lead over Detroit and sunk the Twins back to 6 1/2 out in the division. LA Angels 6 Seattle 0 - John Lackey (right) owns the Seattle Mariners. The veteran righty set the tone for the showdown in the AL West with a complete-game, 7-hit shutout over the Mariners, matching his July 31 effort - an 8-0 win at Seattle. Lackey improved to 16-8 while fanning 5 without walking a batter. Garret Anderson provided all the offense needed with a 2nd inning solo homer and a two-run double in the third. The Angels lead Seattle by 3 games in the division. NY Yankees 0 Detroit 16 - Justin Verlander (14-5) blanked the Yankees on 3 hits over 7 innings while his teammates were pounding his mound counterpart, Mike Mussina, scoring 6 runs on 9 hits over the first 3 innings. For Mussina, who will turn 39 in December, it was his third straight troubling outing and the signs that something's missing are apparent. Over his last three starts, he's managed to last a total of only 9 2/3 innings, allowing 25 hits and 19 earned runs. He's walked five batters and stuck out only 3 over that span as his ERA has ballooned from 4.50 to 5.53. His only wins over contending teams were a pair of 7 2/3 inning games against Arizona and Cleveland and he's lasted 5 innings or less in 9 of his 23 starts. Possibly the most telling stat is his strikeout to walk ratio, which, over his entire career, has been 3.54-1. This season, that's slipped to 2.62-1. The arm is obviously tired and the Yankees are pondering whether to take Mussina out of the rotation and onto the DL, put him in the bullpen or release him outright. None of the options are good as the Yankees fall further out of the playoff picture and are in need of quality starts. The Bombers are 8 games behind the Red Sox and begin a three-game series with them tonight. They are still chasing Seattle for the wild card spot, 2 games back with Detroit another game behind them. Other AL Scores Tampa Bay 4 Chi White Sox 5 Toronto 6 Oakland 2, 12 innings National League NY Mets 2 Philadelphia 9 - Chase Utley (right) returned from a month on the DL just in time to make the Mets miserable. The gritty second baseman, who was sidelined with a broken finger, rapped his 18th home run, singled, doubled and drove in 2 runs to get the Phillies off to a flying start in their four-game showdown series with the first-place Mets. The win put the Phillies 5 games behind New York and 3 games behind San Diego in the wild card race. Arizona 1 San Diego 3 - The Padres aren't ready to concede anything to the Diamondbacks and apparently don't want to settle for a wild card spot in the playoffs. Jake Peavy (15-5) allowed just three hits over 7 innings, one of them a solo homer by Eric Byrnes, striking out 11 to extend his NL-best K total to 197. Geoff Blum stroked a 2-run homer in the 7th inning and Milton Bradley added a solo shot in the 8th for all of the Padres' runs. San Diego trails Arizona by 2 games in the division and host the D-Backs for 3 more games through Thursday. Other NL Scores Atlanta 13 Florida 2 - B. McCann, GS HR (16) Washington 4 LA Dodgers 5 Colorado 1 San Francisco 4

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